Chelsea presently hold all domestic trophies from the 2020-21 season, and remain in the running defend all of them this season. Last month’s 4-2 win over West Ham in our first match back to competitive action in 2022 has set up a Conti Cup semifinal with Manchester United at Kingsmeadow. Manchester City and Tottenham play the following day for a trip to the final.
Though the Blues have gone unbeaten in the new year, the performances haven’t been collectively great. The 0-0 versus Brighton was frustrating, as one of our best chances came from Bethany England, who was only given eight minutes off the bench. West Ham (again) was a solid win, but Guro Reiten’s brace and winning of a penalty (which Harder converted) did a lot to cover our struggles against Aston Villa’s revamped midfield.
Though we have never lost to Manchester United Women (who became a professional club only in 2018), we must be cautious, and of course clinical. Marc Skinner has improved United both tactically and with regards to personnel. While it may be tempting — even understandable — to look ahead to next week’s league matches against Manchester City and Arsenal (which will surely be pivotal toward the title race), United will require full concentration if we are to defend our League Cup trophy.
Date / Time: Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 19.00 GMT; 2:00pm EST; 12:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Kingsmeadow, Kingston Upon Thames, UK
Forecast: Light Clouds; 48°F/9°C
How to watch: BBC Red Button (UK), The FA Player (everywhere else)
Chelsea team news: In a bit of Chelsea on Chelsea crime, Ji So-yun scored an absolute banger against Sam Kerr’s Australia in the Asian Cup and as a result Kerr is now back training with Chelsea. It’s a long flight back from India and across multiple time zones, but if she says she can go, it seems that Hayes will put her in the starting XI.
Lauren James returned to the pitch against Aston Villa and got just under twenty minutes of match action. Alsu Abdullina also started her first match for Chelsea and was tasked with playing left midfield instead of her more natural left back position.
Melanie Leupolz is still out with long COVID and though we received an update on Magdalena Eriksson’s absence (not COVID, but a lingering deltoid sprain), she is only doing light training on her own and won’t feature.
Manchester United team news: As much as this pains me to say, this United are nothing like the United we demolished 6-1 earlier in the season. Not only have they been able to implement Marc Skinner’s preferred style, players like Ella Toone, Alessia Russo, and Leah Galton are thriving.
United have also done some smart business in the January transfer market, bringing in experienced players like Diane Caldwell from North Carolina Courage, Jade Moore from Orlando Pride, and talented forward Signe Bruun on loan from Lyon.
Previously: A 6-1 battering by the Blues.